Court orders release of ex-town treasurer

Court orders release of ex-town treasurer
SunStar Local News GPX

A FORMER town treasurer from Cebu Province serving life imprisonment for a case of malversation of public funds that happened 23 years ago has been granted probation and allowed release by the Sandiganbayan.

In a six-page resolution promulgated on April 17, 2024, former Compostela treasurer Dominador Maravillas was ordered released after serving only two years of his sentence.

The Sandiganbayan said it had taken into account Maravillas’ advance age as a factor that minimized the risk of flight.

“The Court further notes that accused’s advanced age minimized the probability of flight if released on recognizance,” a portion of Sandiganbayan’s ruling reads. The resolution, however, failed to cite Maravillas’ age.

Maravillas, along with the late Compostela mayor Gilbert Wagas, was found guilty of the crime of malversation of public funds amounting to P376,618.65 in a decision promulgated on Oct. 8, 2001. Both were sentenced to reclusion perpetua.

Maravillas and Wagas were also fined an equivalent to the malversed amount.

Wagas died of a stroke in 2017 while serving his sentence at the National Bilibid Prisons in Muntinlupa.

Maravillas, meanwhile, was only arrested on Feb. 18, 2021 and was detained at Asturias Municipal Police Station in Cebu Province following the alias bench warrant of arrest issued by the court on Dec. 16, 2020.

On Aug. 31, 2021, Maravillas filed a petition before the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of Toledo City for the modification of the penalty imposed on him based on the amendments introduced by the Revised Penal Code that allows penalties for various offenses to be adjusted. The RTC granted his petition on Oct. 12, 2023.

Instead of serving 20 to 40 years of imprisonment, Maravillas’ penalty was reduced to two to four years.

The Sandiganbayan has ordered a probation officer to conduct a post-sentence investigation and to submit a report within 60 days from receipt of the resolution, while Maravillas was directed to report to the probation officer 72 hours from his release.

The Asturias Municipal Police Station chief was also ordered to immediately release Maravillas to the custody of Poblacion Barangay Councilor Josias Aguanta Peñalosa and to submit a report within five days from receipt of the resolution. / JJL


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